By Peter Holloway

An Awkward Debriefing

(In memory of a pupil, long since departed, for whom the simplest of

questions presented huge philosophical problems.)

INSTRUCTOR- Did it occur to you that adjusting the trim might have

made a significant difference to the quality of that landing?

PUPIL- What I think we need to clarify is the role of the trim in the

overall context of flying controls generally. Why should we particularise

the trim as you have done, when rudder and elevator may be equally

valid? What we should be doing is factoring into this equation a wider

and deeper awareness into the aerodynamic significance of the trim in all

of its multifarious operational modes.

INSTRUCTOR- Er, do you dislike using the trim?

PUPIL- Your question poses a further question in the way that it is

formulated. Do we have a compelling strategy for confronting a problem

of this nature, where what is paramount, is a persuasive new theory of

energy perception rooted in the encounter with the trim, as a useful

adjunct in the decoding of our aviation experience. And I think you will

agree that I cannot answer more clearly than that?

INSTRUCTOR- (Beginning to have regrets) Have you ever found the

trim useful- so to speak?

PUPIL- Can we reconcile the conflicting imperatives of that which can be

considered conceptually useful, with the perhaps more concrete, albeit

more mundane physicality, of the trim taken as an object………

INSTRUCTOR- …..If you just give me your card, that is to say your

concrete record of attainment…, physically speaking.

Extract from a newsletter written in 2005